Gov. Gavin Newsom defied the NCAA and many universities by signing a bill Monday, Sept. 30 that gives California student-athletes the opportunity to profit off their own likeness or image. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
SB-206 was signed into law by Newsom on LeBron James’ talk show “The Shop.” James, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, were two of the most prominent supporters of SB-206. Both announced their endorsement of SB-206 on Twitter earlier this month.
“Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar,” Newsom tweeted after signing the bill. “That’s a bankrupt model.”
Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 30, 2019
The NCAA condemned the bill’s signing in a statement, stating that state laws like SB-206 “will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field” for all NCAA schools and their student-athletes.
“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process,” the NCAA wrote in a news release. “Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.”
The organization also said they will weigh their future options with California while continuing to work with NCAA schools on handling issues of student-athletes’ image and likeness rights on an organizational level.
Newsom signed despite the NCAA’s board of governors writing to him in a Sept. 11 letter that California schools would eventually be banned from NCAA competitions if the bill was signed.
The organization’s board also wrote in their letter to the governor about the need for “mutually agreed upon rules” in deciding compensation for student-athletes.
“We urge the state of California to reconsider this harmful and, we believe, unconstitutional bill and hope the state will be a constructive partner in our efforts to develop a fair name, image and likeness approach for all 50 states,” the board of governors wrote.
SB-206 was co-authored in the state Assembly by assembly member Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo. Cunningham said he was proud to be a co-author of the legislation and thanked the governor for his signing.
“NCAA athletes shouldn’t have to forfeit their constitutional right to their name, image, and likeness to continue to play a sport that they love,” Cunningham wrote in a news release. “It’s only fair and right for college athletes to be able to control their own image and likeness, rather than the NCAA.”
Athletics Director Don Oberhelman wrote in an email to Mustang News that he was disappointed in the bill being signed. Oberhelman wrote that the bill is bad for California student-athletes “despite the good intentions of our lawmakers.”
“Forty nine other states playing by a different set of rules puts Californians at a competitive disadvantage,” Oberhelman wrote. “None of us knows exactly how this will play out, and it is a shame this uncertainty wasn’t considered before our legislators took this unnecessary action.”